The developer responsible for regional retail projects including National Harbor, the RIO Washingtonian Center in Montgomery County and Dulles Discovery in Virginia is eyeing property on Frederick’s east side to add to its portfolio.
Frederick Corner — or Bluegrass, as Virginia-based developer Peterson Cos. refers to it on its website — is tentatively slated to go on roughly 14 acres at Monocacy Boulevard and East South Street.
According to the plans, the development will include 90,000 square feet of retail space, fast-casual restaurants and a gas station. Peterson’s website projects a 2018 groundbreaking and 2019 grand opening.
But before all that can happen, a rezoning is needed on the property, which is positioned on the edge of the Frederick Brick Works property.
The land is zoned heavy industrial, which was appropriate given its proximity to the Brick Works site and other industrial development at the time of the original zoning. But with the changing economic outlook of the property, potential developers and consultants hope to get about 16.5 acres rezoned general commercial to pave the way for the Frederick Corner project.
“If you’re at all familiar with this site, it’s an industrial wasteland if there ever was one. It’s heavy, heavy industrial,” Dave Severn, a land-use attorney representing the developer, said at a Neighborhood Advisory Council 11 meeting Tuesday.
“Now that the city has invested a lot of money in improvements to Monocacy Boulevard, we are really excited that Peterson Companies has bought the property,” he said. “They have done some great things throughout the region. It’s a really strong company, and I think they’d do a great job at this location.”
Severn, along with David Lingg, the president of Lingg Property Consulting, and Jon Peterson, principal of Peterson Cos., attended Tuesday’s meeting to promote the project. They framed the development as a gateway into a new and improved east Frederick.
The rezoning request was also discussed Monday during a city Planning Commission workshop. The request will move next to a Planning Commission hearing in July before planning commissioners vote on it at a second hearing, likely in August. If it passes the Planning Commission hurdle, it will move to the Board of Aldermen for final approval.
If all that comes together, the project would move to the development phase with the Planning Commission.
The project representatives said Tuesday the timeline is tentative, with actual construction likely years away.
“It’s a yearslong process,” Lingg said.
Attendees at Tuesday’s NAC 11 meeting, who live mostly in the area around the property, did not comment much on the proposed project. Several residents asked about the environmental impact of developing on a former industrial site and why so many steps are needed to rezone the property, but no one seemed to object.
Peterson said officials with the Maryland Department of the Environment have been investigating the site for potential environmental issues but have not found any.
Severn said the developers are also planning a meeting with East Frederick Rising to include the group’s input in the project. East Frederick Rising is a recently revised nonprofit group focused on developing the east side of the city.
Peterson Cos. is known for several significant projects in the region.
The company developed National Harbor, a multi-use development along the Potomac River waterfront in Prince George’s County near Washington; the RIO Washingtonian, a waterfront shopping center in Gaithersburg; and the Dulles Discovery office park complex in Herndon, Virginia, among others.